Beirut-based on demand car wash app Blink My Car closed a $1.2 million seed round yesterday led by Phoenician Funds, a Lebanese venture fund firm, which invests in early-stage tech startups. Blink My Car provides waterless car cleaning and detailing through partnerships with garages and freelancers who go to the car so app users don’t have to drive to a car wash.
“[We’ll use the money] mostly to get to a certain number of active users in Beirut and expand in Doha and launch in Dubai for the next 18 months,” Blink My Car COO Ralph Choueiri says on the sidelines of the ArabNet Digital Summit in Dubai. He declined to reveal the app’s number of active monthly users.
Choueiri says that Kuwait and Saudi Arabia could be targets for expansion further down the line. The startup went live in January 2016 following a $350,000 angel investment by Al Amir Holdings, and is active in Doha and Beirut.
The company is beta testing on-demand emergency roadside services, like fixing a flat tire. Currently, users can choose between car cleaning and detailing options through the app, giving at least 15 minutes’ notice, and the request is sent out to partner garages and freelancers who come to the car.
Blink My Car doesn’t use water: cars are cleaned using eco-friendly detergents and waxes instead of spraying the car with water. The company says their approach saves 250 liters of water per car wash.
Blink My Car is one of 60 finalists from the MENA region in Facebook’s Bots for Messenger Challenge. Its bot responds to messages from customers on the company’s Facebook page, allowing them to order a car wash without speaking to an employee. The bot has been active since April and offers the same features as the app.